Monday, June 11, 2012

Review: Deathhammer - Onward to the Pits

It would seem that a lot of one or two man band projects are picked up by Hells Headbangers Records; . Acid Witch, War Ripper, Hunters Moon and the like. Deathhammer is another two member band comprised of bassist/guitarist/vocalist Sergeant Salsten and his partner Sadomancer who is on drums and backing vocals. Onward to the Pits is the Norwegian duos second full-length studio effort since their beginning in 2005.

Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: Hells Headbangers Records
Release Date: May 9th, 2012

  1. Deathrashing Sacrifice
  2. Voodoo Rites
  3. Fullmoon Sorcery
  4. Emperor of Sin
  5. To the Evil
  6. Final Black Mass
  7. Army of Death
  8. Seduced by the Flames
  9. Lead Us Into Hell
  10. Onward to the Pits
Total Playtime: 39 minutes, 01 seconds





Rating: 7.5/10







It would seem that a lot of one or two man band projects are picked up by Hells Headbangers Records; . Acid Witch, War Ripper, Hunters Moon and the like. Deathhammer is another two member band comprised of bassist/guitarist/vocalist Sergeant Salsten and his partner Sadomancer who is on drums and backing vocals. Onward to the Pits is the Norwegian duos second full-length studio effort since their beginning in 2005.

There is no denying the immensity of the blackened thrash metal atmosphere present on this album. Raw, unkempt and down right gritty production, comparable to De Mysteriis Dom Sathans by Mayhem and other ye black metal of olde, plagues all instrument tracks; leaving the vocals to stand alone in a hellishly desolate echo. If you ever wanted to take a trip to hell, just put on this album and close your eyes. These elements pave the way for an authentic 1980's sounding black/thrash metal album.

"Deathrashing Sacrifice" barges in with blast beat drumming and lightning fast guitar chords, a muffled and incoherent bassline pounding underneath them; weighing down the treble-ridden guitar. The listener is instantly dragged down to hell, captured by the intense aggression and raw driven energy spewed forth. The first three tracks seethe with hatred and chaos, "Deathrashing Sacrifice", "Voodoo Rites" and "Full Moon Sorcery" are instantly embedded into the mind and beg to be replayed.


 "Emperor of Sin" is another worthy mention, and this track is where the material begins to slow down as it tolls in via a haunting bell and slow guitar hook. This song, along with "Final Black Mass", are a bit more melodious than the rest of what is present here, and the heavy hitting drum kick thud makes a more impacting appearance. Though that isn't to say from "To the Evil" and onward isn't any good, it is... though the material doesn't stand out as vibrantly as the four tracks opening the record. "Lead Us Into Hell" is quite possibly the most out of place track here, starting with an unrecognizable introduction that is either a synthesizer or guitar pedal effect that somewhat mimics a church organ.

The vocalist has a great thrash style with just enough of a black metal twinge to keep things interesting. The echo surrounding the track really helps set that evil mood, however Sergeant Salsten has a tendency of abruptly shrieking a falsetto word or two here and there. While the ear shattering octave is hit skillfully, it just comes off distasteful and unnecessary a lot of the time. The lyrics are enjoyable, all of the cheese ridden fat usually found in satanic/occult songs is all but gone, and leave frantic verses lingering in your skull.

This authentic hell ride ends with "Onward to the Pits", the instrumental title track, which is an infernal onslaught of key thrash riffs and string bending bridges that ends with fiery crackling. The track has an unfortunate lack of production quality and comes off abhorrently muffled alongside its predecessors. This album is supposed to have an obvious old school black/thrash appeal, but there is a steady decline of good "bad" production and bad "bad" production over the course of the content.

Deathhammer have made their effort evident, though Onward to the Pits falls short as it loses momentum just three songs in and fails to regain any energy after a welcomed slower track. Instead, it just sits at the same intensity throughout the rest of the material. The quality and sound throughout the album never remain consistent, and the most powerful content is forced to the beginning of the release. For any thrash lover, this album is a must hear and aside from its obvious downfalls remains a near instant classic.

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